Tag Archive | hotel

Mackinac Island in Michigan

6-21 and 22-2016  (May 1971)

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Facts

Mackinac Island is located in the Straits of Mackinac, between Lakes Michigan and Huron. The size is small, only 3.8 square miles.  Don’t let the size fool you, it played an important part in the War of 1812 and Americans lost their lives defending it.  In present times it is a great vacation spot that remembers its past. The name in Ojibwe means “Big Turtle”.  About 500 residents live here year-round, almost everyone you see during the busy summer season is a visitor from somewhere else.  Many workers here at the many businesses are also just there for the summer.

It was not my first time here, it was Al’s though.  My family took a trip here with my grandparents in 1971.  Since we could not all go, I recreated the picture later. It was great to be back 45 years later!

Tauchens in front of Arnold Building 1971 and 2016

Two things Mackinac are best known for are fudge and it’s abundant lilacs.  Island visitors are in fact nicknamed “fudgies” by the locals.  The island has a 10 day Lilac Festival every June to celebrate the abundant flower. We were lucky to see some left even in late June.

Lilacs on Mackinac Island

No motor vehicles are allowed here(except a few emergency).  Horse-drawn wagons, bicycle and walking are how you get around here.  Be prepared for many hills, some steep. The flattest route is around the perimeter of the island.  If you have your own bicycle, bring it. It will save you money if it will be your prime mode of transportation. No worries if you don’t have a bike, there is a great selection at Mackinac Cycle across from the Arnold ferry dock.

Mackinac Cycle

If your time on the island is short or you just want to take it slow,  take the  Mackinac Island Carriage Tour.  It takes almost 2 hours, and is narrated. The kiosk is across  the street from here. Here is the route. The stops are short, you get about 7 minutes at Arch Rock so have your camera ready!

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours

Carriage Tour route

You can even ride a Taxi, but you have to arrange the ride in advance here through the dispatch. You can’t “hail” a taxi like you can on the mainland. Cash only.

Horse Taxi on Mackinac

Here I am in Marquette Park, then and now.  It was fun!  Never thought I would get this chance to re-create this silly picture.

Laurie 1971 and 2016 Marquette Park

Let’s explore Marquette Park, as long as we are here.  Pick up island info at the visitors center across the street.

Visitors Center

In the park there is a statue of Father Jacques Marquette. On it are 3 plaques. The statue was erected in 1909.  Before this was a park, it was a large vegetable garden.  See about most historical island features here.

Father Jacques Marquette

Marquette Statue plaques

Behind and above the park is Fort Mackinac, we hope to visit it next time.

Fort Mackinac on island

A beautiful day to soak up the sun amidst the lilacs!

Harbor view on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Rock Most Historic spot

Sail Mackinac.com

Be a part of the action! Take a cruise on Sail Mackinac!  If you have sailing knowledge, they encourage you to assist the crew if you desire to.

Also in the park is a Missionary Bark Chapel replica, an early small church on the island.  You can go inside and see this diorama.

Missionary Bark Chapel on Mackinac Island

Missionary Bark Chapel inside at Mackinac Island

From here you can see the McGulpin House, one the oldest house on the island, built around 1780.   The house is on the corner of Market  and Fort Street.

McGulpin House

Market Street on Mackinac Island

Across the street from the park is Mackinac Island State Harbor.  Quite the view! You can see the Arnold Transit Co. dock and Round Island in the background.

Mackinac Island State Harbor

On the left of this view is a Statue of Liberty replica.  It was recently restored.

Statue of Liberty on Mackinac Island

Statue of Liberty plaque on Mackinac Island

The harbor looks especially beautiful at night, view is from Arnold ferry boat dock.

Mackinac Island Harbor Lights 6-22-16

Above Marquette Park is the East Bluff, with a great view of the harbor below. We went up there early Wednesday morning.  The early ferries were bring supplies to the island before the first passengers.

West Bluff view of harbor on Mackinac

You could also find a couple historical markers up here on the other end of the road by the bluff.  The first one is for Lewis Cass who distinguished himself with great service to this country. He also was Governor of Michigan Territory.  Cassville, Wisconsin was named after him.

Lewis Cass marker on MackinacCass Cliff monument on Mackinac

Also up here is Anne’s Tablet, a local author who loved the island. The view is wonderful, especially in the morning when the island is waking up.

Anne's tablet site

Anne's Tablet on Mackinac

Annes Tablet monuments

Annes Tablet history

And this is the former Indian Dormitory building, now the Mackinac Art Museum.

Indian Dormitory now Mackinac Art MuseumIndian Dormitory Marker


Beautiful Main Street, where many hotels and great shopping (and fudge) can be found.

Main Street Flower basket

Speaking of fudge, let’s stop by May’s Candy Shop and see how the experts make it. They were the only shop open during the sugar-rationing days of WWII that made fudge. They made only one batch a day and sold only one pound per customer. They even have a trademarked quote, “Famous Mackinac Fudge”®  Let’s watch them make a half-batch of peanut butter fudge!

May's Candy Shop on Mackinac Island

There are MANY places to stay overnight on Mackinac Island, not just the Grand Hotel (staying there would be lots of fun too!   🙂

Grand Hotel view from Arnold Ferry 6-21-16

  Many people say they can’t afford to spend the night on Mackinac Island, but that may be they are not keeping alert for price specials that happen often.  The hotel Facebook pages are often where specials are posted.  We chose to spend our night at the Murray Hotel, right across from the Arnold Ferry docks on Main Street.   Their service is impeccable and hotel beautiful and in the heart of downtown. We were in room 318, a quiet interior room we would choose again.  Check-in is officially at 3,  but this room was available at 1:15 when we arrived!  A porter was at our door with our luggage when we got there.  We highly recommend the Murray!  We also enjoyed their pizza buffet for dinner.

Murray Hotel and logo

Murray Hotel room logo

Murray Hotel Pizza Buffet

Next to the Arnold dock is the Chippewa Hotel and Pink Pony Bar and Grill.  It’s lights reflected  on the water were real pretty that night.

Pink Pony Bar and Grill at Chippewa Hotel on Mac Island Collage

Their sister hotel is the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa.  A beautiful hotel by day, the purple lights outside really set it off at night.

Lilac Tree Suites and Spa on Mackinac Island

On the ground floor is the Little Luxuries gift shop. I found the perfect souvenier, this cute necklace created at Loveonthespot.com  it captured my love for Mackinac Island so perfectly!

Little Luxuries Mackinac Island necklace

The island has many interesting rock formations, we saw the best known ones. Arch Rock is a favorite! You can see another lookout above right see the lake.

Arch Rock lookout

Arch Rock view

View from Arch Rock

On the same side of the island is Dwightwood Springs.  Don’t drink the water.


Dwightwood Springs Sign

Sugar Loaf Rock has a commanding presence above the landscape.

Sugar Loaf Rock and location

Devil’s Kitchen is off the perimeter road on the island (I-85).

Devil's Kitchen and location

Over 80% of Mackinac Island is a State Park , boundaries are clearly marked by signs. Neighboring Round Island Lighthouse lights the way for freighters and other boats to pass safely in the Straits.

Round Island Light House marker

 Once day a year, tours are given of the light house.  A great view of the lighthouse is at Windmere Point,  owned by the Windmere Hotel.

Windmere Hotel on Mackinac Island

View of water from Windmere Point on Mackinac Island

The red object on the waterfront is a retired buoy from the Race to Mackinac from Chicago.  This year is the 108th year of the race, beginning on July 23. See details here about the race, sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club.  It is the longest freshwater sailboat race in the country.

Rack to Mackinac retired buoy

 We went to the waterfront at sunset to see the lighthouse, and a rainbow!

Round Island Light and rainbow

And the whole scene, with Round Island in the middle of both light stations.

Round Island and rainbow at sunset

The Mackinac Bridge gleamed like gold, what a beautiful evening that was.

Gold Mackinac Bridge

To learn more about the history on Mackinac Island, the Public Library is a great place to visit.

Mackinac Island Public Library

We did some more important historic sites on the island.   On Codette Ave. on the way to the Grand Hotel is the beautiful Little Stone Church.

Little Stone Church marker

Stone Church on Mackinac

British Landing is where the British came ashore in 1812 to take possession of the island.  A cannon is there facing the water and a historical marker.  At this juncture is also a sign telling how far other landmarks are.

British Landing on Mackinac Island

British Landing MarkerBritish Landing sign

You can grab a bite to eat at the Cannonball while you are here.

Cannonball food on Mackinac Island

From here we took a right to see the Battlefield, airport and cemeteries.

Battlefield on mackinac Island

Battlefield marker

A historic golf course is up the road from here.

Wawashkamo Golf Course on Battleground

We also went by the cemeteries, airport and aforementioned Sugar Loaf Rock on this route.

Mackinac island Airport

All this exploring works up an appetite!  We enjoyed dinner at our hotel that first night. The next morning we had breakfast at the Pancake House, delicious pancakes and all the trimmings too!

Rubya's Pancake House

Lunch was at the Grand Hotel, quite an amazing meal with a great view!

Grand Hotel dining room looking eastGrand Hotel view from our dining room table

Grand Hotel Luncheon


With only about 27 hours available, we couldn’t see everything, but we did our best!  We hope to come back in 2017 to get to what we missed and see even more.   Thanks for helping us make some great memories! our parting shot was people talking and laughing at the Pink Pony.  It was time to board the Ottawa back to Mackinaw City at 5:00 to explore on Thursday.  It was difficult to leave, we plan to come back.

Pink Pony and Harbor on Mackinac

Oyyowa Ferry back to Mackinaw City

For a funny and informative video of Mackinac Island, enjoy this episode of Matt’s Rad Show on YouTube.  It helped me in my research and made me laugh too.


Best Western Plus Inn on the Park – Madison’s only Capitol Square Hotel

7-10-15 Tour of  Inn on the Park

Inn on the Park column frame

We arranged for a tour of this historic hotel that goes back to 1871, where many politicians and legislators stayed while in town for Government business.  Pictures of the hotel’s early history are on the wall. It was called the Park Hotel then, this is its original look in about 1875.

Park Hotel in Madison 1875

That may still be going to this day, but it is also it has also become a fun destination for visitors in the heart of Madison. The frame of the picture above is made of a column just inside the garage, as is the welcome sign.  We did feel welcome when we came in and our guide was clearly enthusiastic about sharing the many amenities this hotel has to offer.  Service begins when you arrive with valet parking for your vehicle.

The lobby is beautiful and welcoming.  Even a sitting area just outside the on-site restaurant Jeromes Restaurant.  We came back for dinner later.

Inn on the Park lobby

Sitting Area at Inn on the Park

We then headed to the 2nd floor and saw the indoor pool and through the large windows a fitness room.

Pool and Fitness room at Inn on the Park

Next were the two large rooms meant to accommodate large larger parties. The Hall of Wisconsin Grand Ballroom accomodates 360 for dinner or 600 for a cocktail reception. Hall of Wisconsin

And the room with a view, the landmark Top of the Park room can accommodates 125 people for a seated meal and 250 for a cocktail reception.

Top of Park collage

Great views of the Square and Capitol, also towards the Courthouse.

Capitol View from Top of the Park

The view behind us from the lower on South Hamilton St.  You can see the Tornado Steakhouse below.

Top of the Park view

We were also shown some of the rooms, including the one with the classic Capitol view.

Capitol View from room at Inn on the Park

Room views at Inn on the Park

This concludes the tour, but we returned in the evening for their Friday Fish Fry at Jerome’s Restaurant.

Jerome's Bar at Inn on the Park

Long Table at Inn on the Park

Fish fry at Jeromes at Inn on the Park

Dining Room at Inn on the Park

Thanks very much David for the great tour and Jerome’s for a wonderful dinner. You get a thumbs up from us.

Thank You For Staying frame

The New Edgewater Hotel – Fun Times the Whole Year ‘Round!

January 2015 to January 2016

The Edgewater is a Madison favorite since it opened in 1948, and has become one of our favorite places too.

Our last visit at the Edgewater before the remodel was 9-17-12 for a meal. By November, it closed for two years to be mostly rebuilt from the ground up (except the Langdon building on the left). One last look of the old Edgewater before reconstruction, this picture is from 2010. We spent two nights there in December 2011 and really enjoyed ourselves.

The Edgewater 2010 in Madison

 Now we are in 2015, our first visit back, a similar perspective.  The central building was demolished and on new land on the right, the new Wisconsin building was constructed. It’s like a whole new place now.   It re-opened in October 2014.

The Edgewater 2015

In this middle area below (The Plaza) is now an ice skating rink and a cafè called The Icehouse for hungry skaters.

Edgewater Rink in Madison   Ice Rink house at EdgewaterThe Icehouse Cafe at the Edgewater

For those people without a boat, winter is a good time to see the other side of the Edgewater facing the water. I went and did just that in February.  We had the pleasure of enjoying lunch there with our priest on January 19 during Madison’s Restaurant Week. The main dining room is now called The Statehouse, formerly The Admiralty.  The lower tall windows in the Wisconsin Building on the left are the dining room windows with a great view of Lake Mendota.

Edgewater Water View in Madison   Statehouse Dining Room windows in Madison The Statehouse Collage in Madison

Lunch was delicious! Here was the menu, we each had a different entreè.

Statehouse Restaurant Menu at Edgewater Edgewater Lunch in Madison

We went back on Feb 25 for our tour. It needs to be arranged in advance by calling 800-922-5512 and not on weekends.  It lasted one hour, our guide Julie was wonderful!

One feature they carried over from the old Edgewater is the “Wall of Fame”, highlighting celebrities who have stayed there. It used to be a couple of walls in the lounge just outside of the Admiralty. Now, it is a long curving hallway leading to the Statehouse Restaurant.  There are even some video screens in the hall.

Wall of Fame 2011

Edgewater Wall of fame 2011

 Hall of Fame 2015

The Wall of Fame at Edgewater

Up ahead on our left is the spiral staircase leading down to the concierge where we met our guide.

Edgewater spiral staircase

Our first stop was in the Wisconsin building where we were. We visited the Sky Bar, offering a great view of the lake.  Also the rink and Langdon building below.

Sky Bar at Edgewater Sky Bar view at Edgewater

 We next saw the aforementioned Statehouse restaurant, highly recommended!  The new state-of-the-art open kitchen allows guests to see their meal being prepared, as well as being able to interact with the kitchen staff. They even have an open-flame oven. Since I am a professional cook, I really like their new kitchen.

Hearth Oven at Edgewater

Ajacent to the Stateroom is the Lounge with a full bar. It also has a semi-private room with pictures of the celebrities that have visited.

Edgewater Lounge Edgewater Lounge room

If you are in a hurry and can’t take in a full breakfast at the Statehouse, the Edgewater Café offers popular coffee drinks and sweet pastries.

Edgewater Cafe

We head  upstairs in the Langdon Building  to The Red Crown Club room, based on the Red Crown Lodge in Minocqua, WI.

Red Crown Club at Edgewater

The Edgewater also has a Fitness Center with machines to work every muscle and even a yoga room.

Fitness Room at Edgewater

When you are done exercising, there is a sauna and pool. Check schedule for exercise classes here. The public is welcome to join in the fun, you don’t have to be a guest.

Edgewater Pool

Upstairs a floor from here is a salon and spa, a great place to be pampered! Also a couples massage room and a private one as well.

Edgewater Spa

Now for the large spaces within the hotel. The Mendota Ballroom was occupied at the time of our visit, so Julie took us to the Grand Ballroom. It can be divided into three sections if a party only needs part of the room.  The back section has the veranda with outdoor seating.

Grand Ballroom at Edgewater Grand Ballroom at Edgewater

We finished our tour with a greater appreciation of this Madison institution and plan on coming back soon.  In the summer, The Boathouse Restaurant will open and we can enjoy a meal.

Boathouse sign at Edgewater

July 24, 2015

The Boathouse sign lit summer

We are back, now its summer and also our 16th Wedding Anniversary.  Our sister-in-law and my high school friend joined us as well for our first meal at the Boathouse.  Remember the ice rink in the winter? Now there was a big tent where a wedding rehearsal was taking place, wedding probably on Saturday.

Edgewater special event tent

Let’s go eat!  It’s open from 11 AM to 11 PM.  The menu is on a plank of wood, nice touch!


Boathouse menu collage

The windows here offer a great view of the pier and lake as much as the Stateroom does. There is also a patio outside to dine Al fresco.

Boathouse Al fresco dining

Edgewater Boathouse dining room collage

There is also plenty of room for customers to pull up and tie up their boat at the large dock.

The high view from the Plaza, the Boathouse on the bottom left.

Edgewater Dock Panorama

Boat ships at Edgewater

Our food arrived, tasted as good as it looked!

Boathouse Food collage

After dinner we headed downstairs to the pier to see the action there. Look, the Edgewater’s own boat The Cherokee is coming back to port! It doesn’t seem to be here anymore in 2016.

Cherokee arriving at Edgewater

This historic 1924 Chris Craft has three different tours available to the public from now until the end of September. Here is more information on the Heritage Lake Tour.  Also the other tours offered. You can take the Cherokee as a water taxi for only $5 to the Union as well.

Cherokee and Boat House

Upper Deck of Cherokee

Dusk was coming, so we headed back up the steps to the Plaza level to take in the mellow evening mood.


You can see the Memorial Union from here (with binoculars or camera with a good zoom).   There was music and tables full of happy people enjoying the breezy warm evening.

Evening at the Edgewater

Memorial Union Terrace view from Edgewater

A wonderful evening with people we care about at our favorite Madison Hotel, The Edgewater!

Greetings from the Boat House Al and Laurie Frame

October 31, 2015

Photo by The Edgewater

Photo by The Edgewater

Summer has turned into fall, and we are back for their Halloween Badger Tailgate party.  It was held in the big tent also, which was good since it was raining at the time.  The Ryan McGrath Band played a lot of great music too.  Here is a good example of their performance.

Ryan McGrath Band at Edgewater

There was great food too, We enjoyed Duck Jambalaya and Pork Spare Ribs. We picked up our food in The Icehouse near the tent. Al is sure enjoying the ribs! There was a beanbag game going on too.

Tailgate Party at Edgewater

We also went down to the dock to look at the lake. The big pier we saw is the summer was put away for the winter and it was quiet.

The Edgewater in Fall

November 27

We have come nearly full circle, now it is the Holiday season and we came to enjoy their 2nd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. We enjoyed some music beforehand and watched Santa light the trees with a large crowd filling the plaza. Afterwards we had another great meal at the Boathouse.

Edgewater Tree Lighting Day Schedule

Edgewater Christmas Trees

Edgewater in November


We are now back to January again with Madison’s only ball drop at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Al was there to cover the event for me.  Watch the Edgewater official video below. As you can see, there is a lot of fun to be had at the Edgewater the whole year around!

Ball Drop at Edgewater WM IMG_0613


The Edgewater has become a tradition for us to celebrate the seasons throughout the year and we love all the upgrades they have made. We encourage you to come too to create great memories for you and your family!